(NEW BEDFORD, MASS. – AUGUST 6, 2008) — Richardsons’ Chartbooks and Cruising Guides has purchased Maptech Inc.’s marine printed products division, publishers of ChartKits, Embassy Cruising Guides and Maptech Waterproof Charts, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition, made final on July 30, creates one of the world’s largest chartmakers outside of national hydrographic offices.
Both companies have long histories and well-respected traditions in chart manufacturing. Richardsons’ is renowned for its Great Lakes products and has expanded in the last decade to include U.S. East Coast products. ChartKit started in 1975 in the Northeast and over time became a mainstay for recreational boaters with its ChartKits in North America and elsewhere.
Richardsons’ president, Lee Estes, is very familiar with ChartKit. He worked for the original ChartKit/BBA for 10 years before leaving ChartKit and buying Richardsons’ in 1998. “Needless to say, I am very excited about this acquisition,” says Estes. “There is a large, loyal customer base of ChartKit and Embassy users who I am sure will be glad to hear that Maptech’s marine paper products are staying in the family, so to speak.”
“Things have come full circle,” says Tom Coppa, Maptech Inc. President. “We are very pleased that someone who truly understands the chart business and appreciates the recreational boater will uphold the Maptech, ChartKit and Embassy brands. We believe this is true, because Lee Estes worked for us in the past, and we know he will do well.”
Maptech Inc. announced that it was for sale in February, less than 18 months after the death of its owner, Gary Comer. The printed products division is one of several Maptech Inc. has sold recently. Mr. Comer was the founder of Lands’ End, an avid boater and a beloved philanthropist.
“When I heard Maptech’s paper division was for sale, I jumped at the chance to acquire it, because I love the products,” says Estes.
“For the immediate future, the plan is to run Richardsons’ and Maptech as two separate divisions,” adds Estes, who notes that shipping, sales, and operations will be performed out of the company’s New Bedford, Mass., headquarters, while production will remain in Amesbury, Mass. “We have retained the majority of the Maptech paper production staff and a portion of the sales group, all of whom I am happy to have aboard.”